Ballymoney loyalist parade ‘a platform to build on’

Members of the Protestant Against Injustice Committee heading a parade through Ballymoney on Saturday, September 24, 2016
Members of the Protestant Against Injustice Committee heading a parade through Ballymoney on Saturday, September 24, 2016

A loyalist parade through Ballymoney on Saturday has been described by the organisers as a “platform to build on” in the campaign to have the Parades Commission scrapped.

More than 30 bands and representatives of up to 60 loyal order lodges took part in the recently formed Protestants Against Injustice Committee (PAIC) mass protest.

The PAI grouping is a coalition of north Antrim band members, the Orange Order, Royal Black Preceptory, Independent Orange Order, Apprentice Boys of Derry and Independent Woman’s Orange Order.

Spokesman Darryl Wilson has thanked all those who took part, or turned out to support the parade, hailing the event a “great success”.

He said: “In the last number of years we have seen ludicrous restrictions being placed upon of various parades at the whim of a handful of ‘travel to be offended’ protestors.

“These protestors now have a blueprint on how to disrupt parades which have proceeded peacefully for decades. The Parades Commission is the vehicle used by the protestors to see parades, where tolerance and respect were present, be turned into areas of ‘contention’.”

Commenting on a republican parade past the Carlisle Circus/Denmark Street junction on Sunday, Cllr Wilson added: “It beggars belief that the commission would permit a dissident republican show of strength to pass by the lower Shankill this weekend, yet in the last number of weeks the same commission barred a band from playing in a parade in north Antrim due to ‘perceived provocative conduct.’

“The PAI Committee will continue to lobby through protest and petition to see the parades commission be disbanded.”